The Awakened Series, Matthew Cox

I want to thank Curiosity Quills for providing me with those books. You guys are amazing!

 Prophet of the Badlands

The Blurb 

For most twelve year olds, being kidnapped is terrifying. For Althea, it’s just Tuesday.

Her power to heal the wounded and cleanse the sick makes her a hunted commodity in the Badlands, a place devoid of technology where the strong write the law in blood. For as long as she can remember, they always come, they always take her, and she lets them. Passed around in an endless series of abductions, she obeys without question―mending those who killed to own her.

After three whole months in the same village, the affection of a young warrior makes her feel almost like a member of the tribe rather than a captive. Her brief joy shatters when raiders seize her yet again; for the first time in six years, being stolen hurts.

A reluctant escape sends her wandering, and she realizes her gift is a prize that causes as much death as it prevents. Her attempt to return to the tribe leaves her lost and alone, hounded at every turn. When a family who sees her not as the Prophet―but as a little girl―takes her in, she finds the courage to use her power to protect those she loves.

A strange man from a world beyond her imagining tests her newfound resolve, seeking to use her power to further his own agenda. Tired of being property, her freedom boils down to one question:
Can Althea balance the sanctity with which she holds all life against the miserable truth that some people deserve to die?

My Thoughts 

In my opinion, this first book in the series really shows off an incredible mastering of writing style. It was incredibly vivid, with beautiful descriptions that really do make you feel things. I was absolutely amazed by the words chosen by the author, which is a really good thing. 

The original idea behind the story is very interesting as well. It felt unique, going in other directions than the usual dystopian, chosen one themes yet still incorporating some schemes from them. I wasn't bored ready that book, let me tell you! The plot is let by a set of very different characters, led by the main one, who is Althea. I found her very confusing, and I think that was the point of the story: Althea is young, scared, powerful yet new to so many things. And those feelings translated really well to the readers, I believe. 

All in all: creepy, gory, gripping and fascinating.


 Archon's Queen

The Blurb

 Secrets, guilt, and shame―Annabelle Morgan has them all in droves. Fortunately, only one can kill her.

Anna’s gift, psionic control over electricity, tends to go haywire in moments of high emotion. One such episode leaves her homeless after her father’s “accidental” death. She ekes out a modest life as a thief and freelance enforcer until a close call with a murderous government agency makes her turn to Zoom―a powerful hallucinogenic street drug that numbs her mind so the monster cannot get out.

Her safety blanket becomes a devouring pit.

In 2413 London, Anna lives in the gutter, unable to even keep work as an exotic dancer and prostitute. After ignoring her only friend’s pleas for years, it takes a pimp telling her she is too addicted to be useful to realize just how lost she is.

When a young addition to her circle of vagrants attaches to her, Anna attempts to turn away from Zoom. A job from her old handler ends on shaky ground, but introduces her to Doctor James Mardling, a university professor looking for people just like her. He offers the one thing she has always longed for: dignity.

His price, however, may just be too much to pay.

My Thoughts

This book is the rightful sequel to the Prophet of the Badlands!

It is as gripping as the previous novel, and as well written. Matthew Cox does know his craft, and his fascinating world-building was a pleasure to read. I had a little more affection for the side characters than the main one, Annabel, although it was by a thin margin.

The plot was interesting and enjoyable, although I can't help getting the creeps at how relevant and terrifyingly accurate it is today, looking at our fellow human beings.


Grey Ronin

The Blurb

 Mamoru Saitō was well suited for life as a samurai of Matsushita Electronics Corporation, except for one thing―his conscience.

In 2418, Japan has reinvented itself as an anachronism of feudalism and high technology. Corporations govern entire prefectures, each ruled by a CEO wielding the authority of a warlord.

Mamoru’s supernatural ability to embody machines and change software at a thought makes him a coveted weapon in an endless cyberspace war. Ever with the sense he does not belong, he serves without question until an outsider wrests him from his master’s grip, forcing him to flee Japan.

Now a ronin, his sense of honor compels him to exact revenge upon the person responsible for his disgrace. His search reunites him with his past and brings acceptance that he is one of a handful of rare, potent psionics who call themselves The Awakened.

Caught between two factions vying to control him, Mamoru realizes that family is all he truly wanted, but his epiphany may have come too late.

My Thoughts

Now, I think that right there is the best book in the series so far. I absolutely adored the world-building and the main character, Mamoru.

As always, the world that Matthew Cox built is incredibly vivid and creepy as hell, and I can't help (once again) seeing the similarities with our own. 

I found that this book was (more?) action-packed and fast-paced than the two previous ones, and I really like the voice of the novel as a whole. It was clever and interesting, with good character development.  


Daughter of Ash

The Blurb

Designed to be the perfect assassin, Kate is as beautiful as she is deadly―everything she touches, burns.

The government attempted to engineer a pyrokinetic the likes of which the world had never seen, but their plans went awry. Her power to command fire as a living extension of her psyche was more than they had hoped for, except for one problem. Her skin is hot enough to destroy most materials on contact. Useless for infiltration, they declared the project a failure and slated her for disposal at the age of seven.

Years after escaping, she hides on the outskirts of society in the shadows of East City. A chance encounter brings her under the wing of a Syndicate underboss, El Tío. Kate kills without hesitation to earn the favor of the only person ever to show her kindness, but her happiness is as false as her holographic clothing.

An eerie figure interrupts her routine with a promise of an end to her curse, if she joins The Awakened―a group of psionics as powerful as she. To find them, she must travel thousands of miles across the country, but her uncontrollable ‘gift’ leaves her no option but to walk. Desperate for human contact, Kate throws herself into the Badlands, unconcerned with danger.

Cured or dead… Either way she wins.

My Thoughts 

I didn't enjoy this book as much as the third one, although it has some very good aspects: Kate's personality, the very "nature" of her as Matthew Cox explores yet another side of the amazing and fascinating world he built, the writing style, of course, etc.

But I had a hard time connecting with this one, perhaps because I've been binge-reading the story for days and I'm tired, or simply because you can't like every book you read. 

But it is still a very good novel, right alongside the previous ones.




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